NAMM Members Remember 9/11

Elizabeth Dale

Few events in history can freeze a single moment in time and unite the vastly different populations in the world. However, 20 years ago, NAMM Members and the world witnessed this anomaly in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

Twenty years have passed since planes struck the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon just outside Washington D.C., and Flight 93 crashed in a deserted field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum (https://www.911memorial.org/) in New York City reports that in total, 2,977 people perished that day, from 93 nations (2,573 in New York City, 184 in the Pentagon, and 40 on Flight 93).

For most of us, it is hard to imagine that there is now a whole generation of young professionals entering our industry who were not alive to witness these events. However, alongside NAMM Members, the NAMM Oral History Collection has documented and preserved a unique perspective of our industry’s experience from this fateful day.

 

I anchored coverage of September 11, 2001, on our local television station. We were close to where that fourth plane went down in Shanksville, about an hour and a half away. It helped fuel that passion that I did have for television news and politics and for affairs of the world, which I still have. I've been so lucky that NAMM allowed me to get involved in the advocacy world…and political sphere.

Mark Despotakis

Talking Up Music Education Podcast

The NAMM Oral History Collection, a series of over 4,700 interviews, showcases the history of the music products industry. Within this robust collection is a series of conversations that recount just a fraction of the experiences NAMM Members had in the fall of 2001.

Ian Goldrich’s 2017 interview recounts his memories of commuting to his family’s store, the iconic Manny’s Music, at the exact moment the planes hit the Twin Towers and how New Yorkers changed as a result. In John Musselman’s second oral history in 2021, Musselman remembers being at his business in New York City on the days immediately before 9/11, as well as the aftermath of the event. Matt Umanov sat down alongside Michael Gurian in 2005 for their NAMM Oral History interview, reflecting on the impact of being a New Yorker on 9/11 and the support that poured from customers worldwide in the wake of the tragedy that took place.

9/11 Vignette for Playback

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Luthier Manuel Delgado was so heavily impacted by 9/11 that he created the Unity Guitar to bring awareness and funding to the undocumented victims of the terrorist attack of 2001. The handcrafted guitar raised $40,000 and included autographs from the likes of Ryan Adams, Michael Anthony, Mary J. Blige, Glen Campbell, Juan Gabriel, Alejandra Guzman, Sammy Hagar, Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morrissette, Smokey Robinson, David Lee Roth, Earl Scruggs, Dwight Yoakam, Los Lobos, and many others.

Delgado reflected on the build, saying, “It's hard to believe 20 years have passed. The Unity Guitar project is one I will never forget. I chose to focus on the undocumented victims because they were not receiving any assistance, and we were able to fly in five families who lost loved ones to the unveiling. During the event, which included artist performances, I was unexpectedly pulled into a room and introduced to the families. I remember that we all froze and just broke down in tears. I was grateful that I had the chance to do something from my heart and will forever be honored by the response it received.”

Crown International, the Elkhart, Indiana, manufacturer of audio electronics, lost one of their beloved employees on September 11, 2001. Karen Juday was a longtime employee and friend to the close-knit staff at Crown International when she fell in love and decided to leave Crown International to start a new life in New York City. After resettling in the city, Juday took a position as an Executive Secretary at the Cantor Fitzgerald Investment Bank located from the 101st to 105th floors of One World Trade Center. After her passing, the team at Crown International decided to honor her and preserve her legacy in the industry by providing NAMM Music Historian Dan Del Fiorentino with her Crown International employee badge during a 2018 company event. On the days leading up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Del Fiorentino gathered two of Juday’s former co-workers, Brenda Mortimer and Ed Robinson, to reflect on her life and legacy.

For more from NAMM’s Oral History Program on the attacks of September 11, 2001, please visit https://www.namm.org/category/term/911-terrorist-attack and https://www.namm.org/library/blog/crown-international-interviews.